Tuesday, 11 June 2013

The Cost Of Becoming A Writer

I got my first break as a writer last year when a small publishing company, Indigo Dreams Publishing, asked to publish my book. Happy Days I thought and have been waiting, impatiently I'll have to say, for publication date. Although I sometimes wake up in a cold sweat, worrying that they might change their minds (and what would I do now that I've told everyone and his dog) it occurred to me that before I make even a penny out of my first novel, the amount I've already spent to become a 'writer' has been mounting over the years.

It took me over three years to write my first novel and to date, I've bought two laptops, entered various writing competitions, joined a writers' workshop, paid for a report by a literary consultant, paid a consultancy fee to get advice about crafting the perfect package to send to literary agents, been on writing events and am about to go to my first writers' festival. I've read more books than I normally would, bought notebooks, a pocket sized dictionary and a laptop bag.

So you see, the life of a writer is pretty costly. I stopped adding up the cost when it got beyond £2000. As I left my writers' workshop yesterday evening I mentioned this to a classmate and drove home, slowly, in a daze as I tried to calculate how many books I would have to sell to break even! That was a number that rose into the thousands, bringing on another cold sweat. I needed to concentrate on the road and nearly ran over a fox. A brown one that wasn't being very quick. But - never mind that...

Will anyone buy my book??!!

I've had a chance to lie down in a darkened room and, although I managed to fight the urge to try to calm my nerves with generous amounts of dark chocolate and red wine, I am concerned. Very.

But I will remain as positive as possible. I've just read an amazing debut novel (I'll review soon). I have to be hopeful that success could come my way. I believe in my book and maybe 20,000 other people will too.
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Thursday, 6 June 2013

Maggie Le Page on Housemates, Lovers, and A Heat Of The Moment Thing

I am happy to introduce author, Maggie Le Page, who is a very welcome guest on my blog. Maggie's entertaining post also gives you an opportunity to snap up a free download of her novel plus a giveaway to one lucky commenter! Over to you Maggie:

Hi everyone! (Waves madly.) And thanks so much, Fran, for inviting me. It’s great to be here.

I don’t know about you, but home is my sanctuary. When work sucks, or the world goes nuts, I can escape home and forget it all. (Once the kids are asleep, that is.)

But it hasn’t always been that way. In my penniless (child-free) twenties it made sense for me to share costs by flatting. And if you’ve been there you’ll know it only takes one dodgy housemate to obliterate any hopes of ‘home’ meaning ‘sanctuary’.

Housemates. There are so many exciting options out there! There’s the one who’s certifiable, the one who ‘borrows’ straight from your wallet, the one who whines about everything, the one who takes ‘loose’ to a whole new level, the one who thinks rent is an optional extra, the one who trails after you like a homeless hound . . .

Choosing a housemate can be a bit like choosing your life partner. You never really know it’s going to work until they’ve unpacked and messed the place up.

So. Do you opt for the much-loved friend, and risk losing them when it all goes pear-shaped, or do you opt for the stranger, and risk living with someone you just can’t stand? (I’m talking about housemates, though the same could probably be said of partners.)

I’ve tried both options, with varying degrees of success. But give me a friend over a stranger any day. Of course, it does amp up the embarrassment factor roughly tenfold when you bring your latest boyfriend home . . . which is why I decided Becky, my heroine in A Heat Of The Moment Thing, should have a housemate who knew her well. (Hey, why not? She’s going to bring her boyfriend home. This is chick lit. Make her sweat!)

Becky’s housemate, Jim, is an eccentric mix of antisocial geek, comedy central, caring friend, and utter slob. He’s been her housemate for nine years-- “longer than some people are married”, to quote Jim--so they know each other very well. So when Becky’s new fella turns up on the doorstep, Jim knows full well said fella is Becky’s Mr Right--even if she doesn’t.

Isn’t that so often the way? The people who are closest to us, who know us best, can actually see who we are and what we need better than we can ourselves. It’s whether we choose to listen to them that’s key.

(Pauses. Cringes. Remembers several doomed relationships, and Mum’s warnings, and my selective hearing.)

In A Heat Of The Moment Thing, Becky doesn’t know herself very well. She’s so busy avoiding conflict and trying to be the woman people want her to be that she’s never really stopped to work out the woman she wants to be. She’s a bit of a lost soul. Fortunately she has Jim on her side, prodding her in the right direction.

Of course, Jim loves nothing more than a good laugh and Mr Right’s appearance is the perfect opportunity for him to bait Becky. Here’s how she tries to deal with it:
Matt approached the front door. Dry-mouthed, I took one last look in the mirror, decided it was too late for plastic surgery, and headed downstairs.
The doorbell rang, and Jim’s voice carried from the living room. “Check him out. Oo-woo-wee!”
I cringed. “Jim . . .”
Ignoring the urge to run, I pasted a smile on my face and opened the door. My already-short breath disappeared altogether. Hot damn. Leather-clad biker Matt was way, way better than jean-clad boss Matt. This version was even better than bare-skinned swimmer Matt.
Hey you,” he said.
Hey you,” I repeated, with amoeba-like repartee.
He leaned against the doorjamb, all black-panthered power. “Ready?”
I nodded.
You have a scarf?”
I hooked a thumb through the woollen folds. “Yes.”
Good. You’ll need it.”
Through the wall, Jim’s falsetto rang out. “I’ve got passion in my pants and I’m not afr--
I shoved Matt down the steps ahead of me, and slammed the door behind us.
He looked at me, chuckled. “Steady on, Tiger. There’s no rush.”
I wasn’t, not one bit. If he’d heard Jim singing LMFAO--worse, recognised the line--I’d just die. Seriously.
Let’s go,” I said, and fast-walked to his motorbike. If Jim came out to chat, so help me, I’d stab him with my house-key.
Matt handed me a helmet. My fingers fumbled. The helmet slipped. I lurched, juggled, regained control. Slow down, Becs.
Have you ridden before?” he asked.
Was it that obvious? I shook my head, suddenly nervous. God knows what I’d been thinking, agreeing to this.
Here. I’ll help you.” He showed me how to secure the helmet, positioning my scarf for best protection against the wind, then put on his own helmet.
His eyes creased at me through his visor. “Don’t worry, Becky, you’ll love it. Just hang on tight and lean into the corners with me.”
He started the engine, then patted the seat behind him. “Jump on.”
With a quick glance up at the window--and an even quicker glance away when I saw Jim’s smirk--I sat behind him, careful not to touch him and feeling like I had too many hands.
Shuffle in,” he said.
Shit. I edged closer. Our thighs touched. I tried not to think about it.
No, closer.”
Closer? Any closer and we’d be in each other’s clothes.
I tried not to think about that, either. But with my girlie bits now wedged against his arse, it was hard to think about anything else.

Want to read more? You can! A Heat Of The Moment Thing is available now for purchase on Amazon, at http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00BUCJV70. And from 7h until 11th June A Heat Of The Moment Thing will be FREE for download.

For readers who prefer other e-formats, I’m also offering a book GIVEAWAY on Fran’s blog. One commenter will win a digital copy (your choice of epub or PDF) of A Heat Of The Moment Thing. All you have to do is answer this for me:

Have you ever been in the situation where you should have listened to someone’s relationship advice but chose to ignore it? What happened? What was the result? Tell me about it!
About Maggie:
Maggie Le Page lives in Christchurch, New Zealand (aka QuakeZone) with her partner, two children, and a snooty cat who thinks they're all her slaves. Her days are spent running around after kids or doing one of her 'real' jobs, so her writing generally happens in the dead of night. (Morning? No. She’s a third-generation night owl. Enough said.)

She loves chocolate, hates being cold, and is ever fascinated by the possibility of time travel. Obviously, her ideal experience would be to wake up on a tropical island eighty years into the future, with an endless supply of chocolate on hand.

There's nothing she loves more than a good chat (except perhaps a good chat and chocolate--see the theme here?), so don't be shy--get in touch! You can find her on Facebook
www.facebook.com/MaggieLePage and Goodreads http://www.goodreads.com/maggielepage, or visit her website www.maggielepage.com